Monday, February 23, 2015

Greatest Day Of My Mission

Feb. 16, 2015 email

Street contacting at night in Tirana, Albania.  This kid LOVES the food in his mission!
MY AMERICAN FAMILIA!!! (that's family in spanish you uncultured heathens)
Well this week was loaded with stuff. I had lots of fun and I ate lots of chicken and drank lots of milk.

So Monday night we went to a family's house to teach them some Temple Prep and ask them for any questions that they had before they left. We kinda just explained sealings and why we need them and then we read a bit from D&C 131 and talked about why it is important to be sealed and married for eternity. Because it is important. After that we went to a less active family's house and we taught them about Mormon chapter 9 and said that God never changes and neither do his commandments, so they need to come to church. They kinda think it's cool to take a week off and a week on for church and I was just like "Ha well I'm pretty sure the Celestial Kingdom is gonna be a lot like church everyday so you better come and learn to like it."
The next day was awesome! We had a lesson with a recent convert named S. that was baptized in November of last year and we haven't been able to meet with him lately because he has been super busy getting his kids to courses, with work, and with a whole lot of life stuff. So we basically just got to know him a little bit so that he would feel comfortable working with us now. He is a super smart guy! He was talking about political science and stuff and I was just like "Holy Goodness brother! I only know Gospel words!" Just kidding I speak fine. He also asked me if I was cold because I had my big jacket on, and it had been a little brisk outside that morning so I had to be honest and I said "Yeah, a little bit." And he looked at me right in the face and he said "If you were a man, you would never say that you are cold. Especially in the presence of a woman." I was a little surprised he mentioned that second part because there weren't any females around us at that time so I guess he was confused about the gender of my companion Elder Braden. But yeah I guess I'm not a man yet because I am still cold every now and then.
After that lesson we had a meeting with a new investigator named Florence. We taught him the Restoration of the Gospel and invited him to be baptized! The Spirit was super strong in his lesson and he was paying super good attention to what was being said. And he has accepted a date to be baptized. That made our day! After that we had a lesson with Trazhgim in connection with temples since he's getting ready to leave on his mission next week. It was a great lesson and he is going to be a sweet missionary. During that lesson Elder Penrod and I saw that there were some cake bites in the fridge so we decided to eat them. That was a mistake. The sisters had been saving them for one of their investigators birthday parties. Yeah we got in trouble for that. Later on in the day we had a lesson with Kristi but he brought a friend named John with him. So we tried teaching John a bit about the Restoration but he just wanted to practice English with us. He said the 'F' word a ton. At first we told him not to say that because we were in a church but then he just kinda said whatever to that rule and kept going. But after that lesson we were able to talk a bit with Kristi and he is doing great still. We then had English Course which was good and right after that we had a big Ward Council meeting where the bishop looked at the missionaries and told us how great we were working and then he verbally massacred the leaders of the other organizations of the church. Kinda sad to watch but I'm just glad that his wrath was not directed at me or else some tears might have been shed from my end of the story.
Do you think he really needs all those sticky notes?
That night I had an exchange with Elder Penrod in his area and met with some new investigators. They were a little skeptical of the message of Joseph Smith but they agreed to come and meet with us another day so that was good. I really enjoy teaching lessons and seeing how different people think about God and how a relationship with God should be. A lot of people think that we are kinda just God's pets and that it's not right for us to expect good things to come from him. I love the way our church looks at our relationship with God, a child and father. In Kosovo it was a little rough seeing all these people that were believing that we are simply God's little creations that he looks down upon. That's the relationship between Thomas Eddison and the Lightbulb. When we remember that we are God's Children it gives us such a feeling of belonging and purpose that can't come from anything this world has to offer.
One funny thing that happened on the exchange was that we listened to a J. Golden Kimball talk during lunch. He was going on his mission to the Southern States and while he was on the rain he overheard these guys talking to each other. They were asking each other where they were going and the first one said "I'm going west to escape the Mormons," and the other one said "I'm going north to escape the Mormons!" and the third one said "I'm going East to escape the Mormons." and Brother Kimball almost got up and said "Well then go to hell cause there ain't no Mormons there!!" I just thought that was funny.
The next day we went street contacting with the missionaries in 4th Ward. They may have needed a little push so we kinda went out there to help them out. We all had a good time and we talked with TONS of people. We used "Because of Him" as our contacting topic and it got lots of people to stop and talk with us. Afterwards we ate lunch and then went to a baptism for our sisters in 3rd Ward. Elder Braden got to baptize her and it was a great meeting. After that I went on an exchange with Elder Verushi in 2nd ward.
Friday, this was one of the greatest days' of my mission I think. We woke up that morning and after all of our studies and stuff we went to show the sisters where a member lived. The member lived pretty far out kinda on the outskirts of Tirana. Once we dropped off the sisters we decided that we would go tracting in some buildings there. We tracted the entire building and set up some return appointments and I was thinking "Nice, this is good, I think this why we were prompted to stay out in this part of town." We ended up finishing the building with some numbers and return dates and someone had given us two oranges. We wanted to go tract another building right after but we both remembered something that President Ford had told us. That we needed to take 10 minute break for every hour of work. So we decided that we would sit down for a bit and eat our oranges. As we were eating, I had set the Book of Mormon on my lap, a man starting walking behind the curb that we were sitting on. I didn't really mind him but then I heard him ask "What book is this?" I explained to him that it was a Holy Book and that it worked with the Bible and testified that Christ is the Savior of the World. He said he hadn't heard of the Book of Mormon, The Bible, or Jesus Christ. So naturally I was just like "Okay, this brother is messing with me." But he then said that if we wanted to share a message we could come walk with him to his house. He lived close and we followed him and had some small talk. We got into his home and I looked to my left and saw a library with two bibles, a Book of Mormon triple combination, and a couple other Books of Mormon. I looked at him and said "Hey I think you know a lot about this church and what this book is." He smiled and then Elder Verushi told me to look at the walls around us. My eyes quickly scanned the walls that were thoroughly organized with pictures of a young man wearing missionary attire in America or England. But this man was obviously living alone and I had never seen him in church or this young man that was in these pictures. We talked for a while and finally a lot of questions were answered. This brother had not set foot in church for 10 years. His son had been killed on his mission at that time and he didn't want to have anything to do with the church anymore. Words cannot explain the emotions that overwhelmed Elder Verushi and I. This man explained that he had no idea why God would let one of his servants die in service to him.  H
e explained feelings of sorrow that had been held in his heart for years, and he expressed a sense of loneliness and a feeling of being forgotten. He told us that he had recently been praying for God to end his time here on earth so that he could see his son again. Elder Verushi and I were at a complete loss of words. Confused and lost in a haze of tears, we were both able to bear testimony of the Plan of Salvation and tell this man that he would without a doubt be with his son for eternity. We spent a good amount of time there and set up a time for when we could come back. We left the home with broken hearts and strengthened testimonies. If we had not been prompted to stay in those raggedy outskirts of Tirana, to spend our time tracting, and to take a break at those moments, we would not have been able to encounter this man on his way home from buying some groceries. I know that the Spirit guides and directs those that are willing to hear it's small soft voice. I know that if we remain worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost, we will always know what to do in moments of confusion and trial.

P-day in Kruje with his district.  
That night we had a few more lessons with members and investigators but nothing will compare to that experience that we'd had earlier that day. We were sent to this man, as an answer to his prayers, so that we could remind him of the knowledge that he had locked withing his heart. I'm grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve as a missionary in this wonderfully prepared part of the world. I love being here and I love this people!
Enjoy the week and be safe!
Love, Jed
Dearest Mother, 
Sorry I didn't write about what I did today. I went to Kruje with my district and we had a great time. How is everything going at home? I don't really have anything to tell you for your talk. I hope it goes well though. Tell Emma way to go on those two guys by the way. I don't know who they were but I'm sure they were awesome. I love you Mom! I really don't care what you guys do concerning getting me. If you want to, I'm definitely okay with that but if you don't then that's okay to. Be safe this week! Love you all!

Love, Jedediah Jim

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